image #1 cake by maggie austin, photographed by abby jiu for maria & josh’s wedding; #2 wreath via once wed; #3 cookies for megan + will’s wedding photographed by katie stoops; #4 maids with dogwood bouquets photographed by landon jacob via southern weddings magazine; #5 dogwood arrangement photographed by landon jacob via southern weddings
St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to look back at this classic green wedding inspiration we designed for Southern Weddings Magazine volume 5, photographed by Katie Stoops. Aren’t the paper details designed by Lettered Olive to die for, with the William Morris-inspired green and blue floral motif? The details make the design! For all the sources, click over here to read more here.
It’s no secret I’m a die hard fan of Chinoiserie (witness: our china pattern). This chinoiserie-inspired party, designed by Nathan Turner and Mary McDonald for Veranda, is perfection, especially the bar, backed by an elegant gray pagoda and flanked by faux cherry blossoms. Green and white is an eternally classic combination; I love this palette not only for a wedding, but for any sort of spring or summer gathering.
images: The Greystone House Gala featured in Veranda. Photography by Reed Davis.
Designed around the idea of “golden glow,” Mimi and Clarke’s winter wedding was a bright light last February. From the long stemmed hurricanes, embellished with gilded poet’s laurel that maids carried during the ceremony in place of traditional bouquets; to the Rosa Clara beaded wedding gown Mimi wore; to their grand entrance into the Rotunda at the Jefferson to 300 adoring friends and family; to their getaway in their treasured 1979 Volkswagen Westfalia van, Mimi and Clarke’s wedding was so classically elegant but very fresh and original. We feel so fortunate to have been a part of it. Thank you to all of the people who expertly brought Mimi and Clarke’s ideas to life, most especially Jeanette McKittrick Floral Design, La Tavola (who despite some of the worst winter weather in the middle of the country got our linens to us on time! thank you!), Jimmy Harris at The Jefferson Hotel, Jen Fariello Photography, Amanda Robinson at Sweet Fix, Ms. Mo of Mo’Soul (represented by Sam Hill), Jimmy Oliver Event Technologies, Parrot Design Studio, Ave 42, and, most especially, my team. Please rush and get a copy of Virginia Living Magazine to see this wedding and many others that took place in the Commonwealth.
1. Establish a budget.
2. Draft a guest list.
3. Book your church and celebrant.
4. Book a venue.
5. Draft the weekend agenda.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of being engaged and to immediately start venue (or dress!) shopping, especially if you’re engaged over the holidays and you’re with family who are equally excited to see plans take shape. Really, though, there is nothing better you can do to ensure smooth sailing until your wedding day than to sit down and get real about money before you step a toe inside a dress shop. A well defined budget will point you in all of the right directions, from which venues you consider, to what kind of reception you plan.
Organizing your day of deliveries is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your wedding weekend, especially if you’re hosting a large event with lots of moving parts. When we work with clients, we create a detailed production spreadsheet; that sheet lists each and every item that is being delivered for the ceremony and reception, along with all pertinent details (who is delivering, when, how to operate, etc). For smaller events with less production, you don’t need an elaborate spreadsheet, but you do need to communicate who is responsible for all items during their life at the reception so there is no confusion during installation or at the end of the night about where the item came from and where it is going.
We also can. not. live. without clear containers labeled with a photo label and a descriptive label that notes the items’ destination and the quantity (something we manage for all of our clients — it’s crucial!). Within those containers, all items are “table ready,” meaning that as much packaging as possible has been removed to make set up go quickly and smoothly.
One of the questions I’m asked most during rehearsals or just before ceremonies by a bride or maid who wants to make sure she’s getting it just right is, “how should I hold my bouquet?”. Just remember the belly button rule: hold your bouquet lower than you think it should be — usually at or around your belly button. Bouquets look best carried lower than you think they should be!
photo by Jodi Miller Photography; bouquet designed by Courtney Spencer of Merriment Events
There’s just nothing quite as wonderful as seeing film from a client’s wedding day, but Christina and Tom’s film by Josh Gooden completely blew us away. Josh told their story so beautifully, in a way that augmented the story captured in still pictures. We’re such firm believers in videography and always tell clients its one investment you’ll be so, so glad you made.
Birdie turned four this weekend, and the party was a success! I’ve learned many lessons in the four short years we’ve been fete-ing the bird, and I’d love to share some tips with you to keep your kids’ parties sane and relatively stress-free.
It’s probably obvious, given my profession, that I find sanity in organization, and I think you will too! Going into a party with a written plan will make your life so. much. better. Promise.
10:00 AM – set up, 30 minutes: Since you have such a short amount of time to set up, as much prep work as possible should be finished before the party. For instance, if you’re serving lunch, boxed lunch is best. Bonus points if the lunch can also double as decor (e.g. gable boxes tied with balloons). The idea is to arrive and put things in place.
The two essential components necessary for setting up a party in a limited time frame are 1) many helping hands and 2) simple, easy decor.
10:30 AM – Invitation time*: The invitation says 10:30 to noon, but most guests won’t arrive until 10:40. Turn on some background music, offer parents a bottle of water or something to drink, and mingle until all of your littles have arrived.
10:40 AM – Party Activities begin: Start party activities about ten minutes after your invitation time or when all of your guests have arrived. At Birdie’s fourth birthday party, we scheduled a thirty-minute dance lesson. It’s always nice to give kids an activity that will burn energy first before you move to a seated activity or lunch.
10:45 AM – The photographer arrived. After putting so much work into a party, I really love to have someone there to capture it because, let’s be honest, I don’t have the time or expertise to do it myself. Ali Williamson was AMAZING. Cannot recommend her enough. We’ve also worked with Nikki Sawulski in the past, whom I also adore.
11:10 AM – lunch**: I found sweet kraft paper gable boxes at If It’s Paper. They doubled as decoration (see here) and also served a practical purpose: the boxes held juice, a clementine with a celery stalk (like this) and a small bag of grapes. We also ordered pizza. In total, we dedicated twenty minutes to lunch and that timed out to be just enough on the big day!
11:30 AM – Rapunzel arrived: Near the end of lunch, Rapunzel, much anticipated and widely adored, arrived. After crowning the birthday girl, Rapunzel read a story, then, we moved along to cake.
11:40/11:45 – Sing, cut cake and take pictures with Rapunzel
12:00 PM – Party concludes
Who should get a copy of the party timeline? All those helping to set up the party; anyone making deliveries; anyone who is providing services (e.g. the costumed character making an appearance); the venue that is hosting the party.
*In my four short years of experience giving my daughter parties, I have found that 10:30 AM is a really wonderful time of day for parties. Some four-year-olds still nap, while others may not. A morning party accommodates nappers and non-nappers alike.
**We chose to serve lunch before serving cake. I just never feel right about serving cake to children at a party if I haven’t given them something nutritious first. They may not eat it, but at least I tried! If you are not offering lunch, it’s kind to give parents a head’s up on the invitation so they can be prepared. It’s also nice to let parents know (via the invitation) if the party is a drop off/drop off optional party.